Thursday, 23 October 2014

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

My first experience with a Smash Bros title was back in 1999, with the release of the first entry in the series, Super Smash Bros. However, I didn't come to the series knowing every character on the roster. As some of you may know, when growing up I only had a Mega Drive, and sadly an additional gaming console in the house just wasn't an option financially. So while the entire roster of characters in Super Smash Bros should have looked like a list of old familiar friends, to be quite honest I didn't recognise anyone outside of the Mario and Zelda franchises. But don't burn me at the stake yet, as since then I've become more than familiar with them all. But while I played Super Smash Bros as someone who wasn't a huge Nintendo fan, I came to this latest instalment with a much better idea of who's who and what's what. So, is it worth your money? Yes, but do read on...

Developed by Sora and out now comes Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, which is easily the  best Smash Bros game to date. First off, I'm covering Super Smash Bros 3DS but will touch on the Wii U as well. As both games are technically identical, most of this review will focus on both games combined, with their slight differences being explained a little later. There's no story here, no reason for this Nintendo brawl to happen, but there doesn't need to be. If you've been living under a rock and don't know, Super Smash Bros. 3DS pits Nintendo's most iconic heroes and villains against each other, in what I consider to be the best and most successfully piece of fan service ever.

Much like previous instalments, Super Smash Bros. 3DS plays like a twisted version of Sumo Wrestling, in the fact that beyond having to deal damage upon a foe, you also need to knock them out of the designated playing area. Boasting a roster of 49 characters, 15 of which are newcomers to the Smash Bros series, the level of choice on offer here is astounding. Whether you want to recreate battles such as Link vs Ganondorf or Mario vs Bowser, or even your own dream match like Samus Aran vs Palutena, anything is possible. Each character has a move-set of around 20 attacks each, and these range from simple dash attacks to grabs, throws and even in-air attacks. Each characters move-set is pretty easy to get the hang of, and though it sounds simple enough on paper to master, besting some of Nintendo's most well known mascots is no cake walk. The beauty about combat is that because of the fact that there are up to four players allowed to fight among themselves here, it literally makes for matches that look complicated and messy to someone who isn't playing, while whoever is playing, these confusing collections of flashes, grunts and explosions perfectly makes sense. From kicking your opponent into the air, hurling them across the stage and then drop kicking them into the ground in one fluid motion, Super Smash Bros. 3DS is fluid and fun. Of course, this wouldn't be Smash Bros without those great power-ups first introduced in Super Smash Bros Brawl, namely the Assist Trophies and the Smash Ball power-ups, which summon other gaming icons to help you out in battle and lets your character unleash vicious final attacks, respectively. Super Smash Bros. 3DS is a powerhouse of sheer spectacle, and the kind of game that proves that a good fighting game can be based upon a simple concept, backed up by a relatively small move-set per character.

A new addition to the series is the inclusion of the Mii's as fighters, Nintendo's in-game avatars first introduced alongside the Wii. This time you can kit out your Mii with various different attacks and power-ups, which adds a nice extra bit of flavour and individuality to the roster. There's nothing quite like seeing Denis the Mii lay the smack-down on the Villager from Animal Crossing, personally. Then there's also the Nintendo's decision to implement Amiibo figurines into the game. It's a very similar concept as to what I've seen before used in Disney Infinity and Skylanders, but instead of using them yourself, these characters will aid your during battle, fight other characters while you watch on and also, hopefully, kick your friends asses too. It's an interesting concept, and while having a few Amiibo's certainly isn't vital to enjoying or excelling in Super Smash Bros. 3DS, it does expand the experience somewhat.
Wii U/3DS differences: As I said before, the games are technically identical. However, there are some differences here. Though at its heart it remains the very same experience, some assist trophies, stages and trophies are exclusive to each game. For instance when it comes to stages, the Wii U has Pikmin and Wii Fit Studio stages, while the 3DS version has Golden Plains and Green Hill Zone stages. If you're a hardcore Smash Bros fan you'll most likely buy it for both platforms, but for most out there the changes aren't enough to warrant another purchase. Three big differences with the 3DS version is the inclusion of Smash Run, Trophy Rush and Street Smash modes. While Street Smash and Trophy Rush modes aren't really anything to rave about, Smash Run is actually pretty great. It contains the usual Smash Bros gameplay we all know and love, but instead of playing within a small arena, Smash Run lets you explore large open levels, find loot and beat enemies and bosses. It kind of feels like an old school Mario title, with a little extra peril thrown in for good measure.

Overall Super Smash Bros. 3DS is the best Smash Bros title yet, no question. However, the decision you need to make is which platform to buy it for. I played both and found that the Wii U was my preferred platform, as I personally feel Smash Bros belongs on the big screen. That said, the 3DS version has some nice extras thrown in there, and despite all the action now being miniaturized, it's a Smash Bros game through and through. Good luck with your decision, as it's going to be a hard one.

Super Smash Bros for the 3DS and Wii U smashes the competition and gets a 5/5.


Denis Murphy
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